This is ninth in a series of 50 posts we are putting out throughout the years in anticipation of the celebration of our 50th Anniversary in 2015. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for the top things YOU love about Minnesota as well!
The Minnesota Zoo resides on 485 acres of land in Apple Valley and is home to more than 530 animal species. The Minnesota Zoo may be turning 35 this year, but because of the huge age gap between the Minnesota Zoo and the state’s other zoos, you will still catch many Minnesotans referring to it as the “new zoo.”
The Minnesota Zoo consists of five trails that are beautifully designed to make you feel as though you are walking through the animals’ natural habitats. Along the Tropics Trail you will be greeted with a lot of noise – lemurs are screeching, gibbons are singing, and the hornbills are honking. On the Minnesota Trail you will encounter native species including the newest additions to the zoo, three orphaned black bears. Discovery Bay offers a look at what amazing creatures lurk under the ocean’s surface including the fan-favorite, the leafy sea dragon. Russia’s Grizzly Coast is the Zoo’s newest (and award-winning) trail. This trail allows you to get face-to-face with the zoo’s most charismatic animals – the sea otters and grizzly bears. Finally, the Northern Trail features animals that love Minnesota’s chilly weather and is home to the Zoo’s most popular duo – Sundari and Nadya, two amur tiger cubs.
The Minnesota Zoo is not just a great place to spend the day interacting with wildlife, but it also offers many unique education programs for all ages. Children and families have many opportunities to learn at the zoo including year-round classes, zoo camp, and behind-the-scenes encounters. Teens and adults can take part in the zoo’ international travel program, career days, volunteer programs, enter the annual photo contest, or attend the free lecture series.
As summer grows near, the Zoo is packing its days with special events. Currently, the Wells Fargo Family Farm is hosting its annual Farm Babies event – aka you can get up close and personal with adorable baby cows, pigs, goats, and chickens. Starting in June, the Zoo will bring back two of its most popular exhibits – Dinosaurs and Africa. Dinosaurs will feature 20 larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs and Africa will bring new African animal species to the Zoo, including giraffes that you have the opportunity to feed. This summer the zoo will also host the 21st annual Subway Music in the Zoo concert series. This series spans throughout the summer and always brings in big-name musicians.
The “new zoo” easily made our list and its new species, exhibits, programs, and events always keep us coming back for more.